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Emergent Urbanism Digital Physicality Adam Blaney 06092109

Unit......Emergent Urbanism



Preface 1

Interactive city 2

Reactive city 3

Hull 4

Site research 5-13

Site research ratios 14

Learning diagrams 0.1 & 0.2 15-16

Pupil facility ratios 17

Export 18

Site location plan 18

Site location plan 19

Form/organisation 20

Quasicrystalline 21

Adaptable structure 0.1 - 0.5 22-26


Prototype 0.1 27

Prototype 0.2 28-29

Floor plate plan 30

Pod plan 31

Pod section 32

Pod schematic 33

Floor plates 34

Diagrams 35-38

Internal pod view 39

External pod view 40

Bridge 41-42

Visualisations 0.1, 0.2 0.3 43-45

P r e f a c e

This amalgamation of work has adopted a visual style of a digital interface/world that is inhabited by it users and programmes such as TRON. TRON is of interest as the user and eventually programmes could flick between the environments that the inhabited (digital or physical). This allows for digital design that can maintain its efficiency in design through to physical manifestation, it may also allow for true bottom up design in a digital world as manifestations of programmes can ultimately lead to a evolution in form created with no human input which can then be physically manifested. This ultimately leads to a physically inhabited environment that mimics the characteristics of and ecosystem because it can self organise evolve and physically adapt based on real/physically true factors, it also opens up the possibility of physical people inhabiting their own individual digital environment for as long as they wish. This may lead to a complete revolution of who is needed in the building industry if anyone and a new government regime as a computer programme can be hacked therefore distorting or manipulating another’s digital en vironment. There could also be a danger of place losing its sense of place as a computer programme may not priorities distinctive design factors such as cultural requirements and may abolish heritage therefore creating globally generic environments. “Seymour Papert was, with Marvin Minsky, one of the people in at the birth of the MIT artificial intelligence (AI) projects in the late 1950s.”1 This department along with many people such as McCarthy, Chomsky who started to explore the artificial capabilities of a computer systems and a applicable computer language that surpassed BASIC. “Papert reserves many words of abuse for BASIC when talking about using computers to teach children.”2 Parpet also worked with Piaget to develop strategies for learning “For Papert, Piaget introduced the distinction between concrete thinking and formal thinking, between learning and teaching. Piaget insisted in the Geneva Institute that we should see children as ‘builders of their own intellectual structures’”3 If children are able to talk/apply/learn computer code language just like speaking another non native language and the environment is designed digitally and is then manifested physically the boundary is blurred between digital and physical, the occupiers can ‘hack’ and deform the digital ultimately altering the physical to meet the demands of their own cultural requirements. Culture and heritage is not lost but lives as a virus in the system, this ‘virus’ can evolve creating new heritage. The urban context becomes more individual as it can respond to individual needs on a city scale something that current town planning codes do not cater for.

1,2,3 – Paul Coates, Programming Architecture, p27



An interactive environment that extends that of digital networks such as the iphone but diminishes it being confined to a hand held device and using the fabric of the city (walls etc) to become the users manipulative touch screen, allowing for the urban context to be digitally tagged or altered such as the eye writer project. It allows for social networks to manifest in certain parts of the city redefining district boundaries and what social groups actually predominate in these areas physically but is recorded digitally, tourism will no longer exist as global brand saturation can occur instantly and on a global scale. Games that involve avatars can also be integrated into the cities fabric creating digital environments that are at real life scale that can be physically inhabited by the gamer/s which can also redefine how a city is used by its occupants. This may produce global generic environments and no specific identity but if the system is open source or is ‘hacked’ by its occupants then the digital network becomes very individual again but in a different medium that never stagnates.

Destination Cafe’

Cinema Parks More options




AReactive city – A reactive urban context that meets the demands of its inhabitants in real time, this concept is based on the work by Soo-in yang and David Benjamin and there projects such as Living city, and work by Philip Beesley and his projects Hylozoic ground.

It employs the combination of an urban context being digitally designed (parametrically modelled) with bottom up principles that are based on the parameters/information obtained from its inhibitors, climatic, economical conditions etc of a specific context, along with the use of programmes that can monitor evaluate and react in real time so changing conditions. Certain programmes structurally evaluate designs and self design the structural members therefore it can bridge a gap and also react and manipulate a physical member to the required opti mal form meet the structural demands when its form alter to meet real time changes in climate or user input etc.

It adopts the ideas of Peter and Alison Smithson such as Golden Lane in London and The Park Hill scheme by Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith and their concepts of streets in the sky, the urban context can become an adaptable mesh that is no longer confined to a 2d plane of current cityscapes. These networks of travel are in a constant state of flux that react on a micro scale (user) in order to create optimal travel routes whilst also maintaining its form manipulation with respect to macro factors that it will impede on when constantly altering its form.



All house prices are based on 3 bedroom detached properties (HU 1 based on 2 bedroom apartments).

Population 1,858

House Prices


£62,500 £116,175 £174,950

Number of leisure & sporting facilities





Population 3,453 Leisure centre

House Prices £57,500 £99,600 £77,400





Leisure centre


Football Pitch

House Prices £35,000 £82,600 £109,905


Population 30,369



Leisure centre

Football Pitch Bowls

House Prices £87,500 £142,450 £219,950

Fishing lake Library Cricket pitch Population 19,713



Population 46,906 Leisure centre

Football pitch

House Prices

Tennis court

£49,950 £88,900 £159,950

Library Cricket pitch



Population 44,272 Leisure centre

Football Pitch House Prices £55,500 £137,400 £179,995


Fishing lake



Leisure centre

Football Pitch

Bowls House Prices £63,000 £104,150 £199,995


Cricket pitch

Population 33,916



Population 44,240

Football Pitch

Tennis court


House Prices £45,000 £98,800 £159,995


Cricket pitch




Museums-9 Library-2 Leisure centres-0 Tennis court-0 Football pitches-0 Bowls-0 Facilities Theatres-2 Fishing lake-0 1:142 Cricket pitch-0 People


Area with highest average & individual house pice

Museums-0 Library-2 Leisure centres-2 Tennis court-0 Football pitches-4 Bowls-1 Theatres-0 1:1792 Fishing lake-1 Facilities pp Cricket pitch-1


Area that is most deficient in facilities to ppulation ratio

Museums-0 Library-1 Leisure centres-1 Tennis court-0 Football pitches-4 Bowls-0 Theatres-0 1:6324 Fishing lake-1 Cricket pitch-0

Museums-0 Library-2 Leisure centres-2 Tennis court-0 Football pitches-0 Bowls-0 Theatres-1 Fishing lake-0 1:690 Cricket pitch-0


Museums-0 Library-2 Leisure centres-2 Tennis court-1 Football pitches-2 Bowls-0 Theatres-0 1:5863 Fishing lake-0 Cricket pitch-1


Museums-0 Library-2 Leisure centres-1 Tennis court-0 Football pitches-3 Bowls-2 Theatres-0 1:3319 Fishing lake-0 Cricket pitch-2


Area with lowest individual house pice

Museums-0 Library-3 Leisure centres-1 Tennis court-0 Football pitches-1 Bowls-1 Theatres-0 Fishing lake-0 1:5061 Cricket pitch-0


Museums-0 Library-1 Leisure centres-1 Tennis court-1 Football pitches-4 Bowls-0 Theatres-0 1:3377 Fishing lake-1 Cricket pitch-2


Museums-0 Library-3 Leisure centres-0 Tennis court-1 Football pitches-3 Bowls-1 Theatres-0 1:4915 Fishing lake-0 Cricket pitch-1

Learning diagram 0.2



The stacking of low population and reduced spatial density units will allow for vertical density, although it has been proven it is detrimental to a learning environment if the units are not orientated around natural light and visible/easily accessible green spaces.


Sprawl of the proposed educational network can respond to the urban requirements, the construction process and the integrated technology will allow for it to become self organising with regards to certain parameters. The sprawl is concentrated around water networks as it attains its energy for these water systems. The network intrudes on existing redundant warehouses, the redundant warehouses then become rejuvenated by producing the pods, this provides Hull with a industry again. The pods can then be exported globally with the port infrastructure already present in Hull.

The units are orientated around redeveloped green space in a redundant area in the city, the units orientation also access as much natural light as possible along with the integration of the revolutionary format of this independent open source learning scheme, all of these factors aim the achieve an environment for students that maximises their learning capacity.

Pupil facility ratios All information taken from state schools Number of students

Teacher student ratio


computer student ratio

Number of computers


Havering average GCSE pass rate 73% (A*-C) National average GCSE pass rate 43% (A*-C) National average teacher student ratio 1:16.6 Havering average teacher student ratio 1:15 Havering average computer student ratio 1:5 National average computer student ratio 1:3.4




National average 61% 1527



1:3.4 Secondary schools 1:4.8 6th form colleges

21% Sir Henry Cooper school

Archbishop Sentamu Academy

57% 32% 18%



St Mary’s college

Winifred holtby school

48% 24%



Endeavour high

Pickering high school

Kelvin hall secondary school





















Newland school for girls

586 1590 844 60 387 103 1:12.5 1:14.1 1:13.8 1:9.7 1:4.1 1:8.2





Hull trinity house

David lister school

Kingswood college of arts

1405 857

Mallet Lambert school


47 75


1:27.4 1:15.3


1:29.8 1:11.5




Andrew Marvell 962 815 1124 169 62 165 1:12.6 1:13.4 1:21.4 1:5.7 1:13.2 1:6.8


E x p o r t

The ideal number of students per pod is four to optimize the learning environment, the below graphs demonstrates a global impact this new learning revolution can have on rejuvenating Hulls industries that have diminished by taking advantage of the facilities (the port/docks) that are still active in Hull. Hull therefore becomes the export centre for this new educational format. (number of students / 4 = number of pods requiered per city)

New York 478,544 students 119,636 pods

Students Pods

Reo di Janeiro 1,050,127 students 262,531 pods

Mumbai 2,000,000 students 500,000 pods

Glasgow 175,000 students 43,750 pods

Hull 53,927 students 13,482 pods






HU6 HU8 500meters HU5 HU2





The starting origin of the proposed ‘cocoon’ scheme is at the centre of Hull so it does not discriminate against any suburb. It originates here also because of its direct transport link with the water way systems that follows directly down to the port of Hull and the sea, therefore the pods can be globally exported. The sprawl of the scheme will be dictated by parameters based on educational performance in certain areas. If the scheme proves to be better than the traditional system it will move in to replace these areas that are most educational deficient. The systems will be self organising (number of required pods) and other established structures will network with one another to obtain micro and macro gains and information.



Below is Konrad Waschsmann diagram ‘organism’ from his institute of building research, this diagram has no hierarchical order because they are all dependant on one another, without one another the system fails, it was based on the six parts of Konrads institute. “A drawing of what Waschsmann calls the unlimited expansion of any given problem or task simultaneously reaching in all dimensions”. 3 This diagram provides organisa tion that is endless in what scale it can be applied a series of these diagrams in plan would have an endlessly variable overall form but it is constricted to a minimum/solitary form due to top down planning and is dictated to consist of a six sided principle, therefore in the truest essence it cannot be self organising at all scales. The floor plates of the proposed scheme have been based on this diagram for the propose that it can be applied to any scale.

3 – Network practices, page 46, Princeton architectural press


Quasicrystalline Images taken from Form Control to Design

Quasicrsystalline - Research into the quasicrystalline structures and there applicability to design has been carried out by the architectural studio Aranda/Lasch founded by Benjamin Aranda and Christopher Lasch. “Our obsession is the pursuit of order that are rigorously modular but wild-almost out of order. Quasicrystals, a new phase of matter discovered in 1974, represents this kind of material structure that hovers on the edge of falling apart.”4 The significant property of the quasicrystals is that is never repeats its structural pattern twice, the structural system of this material is self organising and is endlessly uneven and never the same but is structurally sound. “The key to the quasicrystals aperiodic structure is that they are organised by socalled ‘forbidden’ symmetries (such as 5, 8 or 12-fold symmetries) that, until recently were not thought to be able to tile space without leaving gaps.”5 In 1974, Roger Penrose managed to produce a 5-sided tilling that was aperiodic and always changing. The molecules that assemble themselves using local forces are found to be organising over long ranges so as to orientate themselves correctly, therefore the individual parts would have to know the orientation of another individual far away which is impossible. This system of organisation allows for a single unit to be tilled over an infinite distance that is different to each other, it is not dependant on a minimal six sided form like the Waschsmann diagram and is organised bottom up. 4 - Form control to design, page 196 5 - Form control to design, page 197 Above - Quasicrystalline studies 3d printed creating a sructural mesh. Below - Plan of self organising quasicrystalline structure.


Adaptable structure 0.1

The below diagrams explore the possibilities of a structural skeleton that can contorted and manipulated to an individual’s requirements, this is of particular interest to obtain a learning environment that helps to maximise learning factors as stated in the previous headings learning diagrams 0.1 & 0.2 such as natural light and views onto green spaces. As these pods are stacked vertically a network can be implemented as they will be all digitally connected so as they can react to one another’s form as they are constantly altering.


Adaptable structure 0.2

A physical prototype that explores the form in a static state of the moveable structure, after carrying out this experiment it became apparent that the structure needs an external skin that can adapt and its form therefore is dictated by the internal skeleton of the pod as it moves. The model itself was constructed via a sectioning method as shown below, this is done to minimise waste by obtaining maximal density of the constituent parts on a sheet of material, this is a method is explored in greater detail in the book - Digital Fabrications, Architectural & material techniques by Lisa Iwamoto.


Adaptable structure 0.3 Detail - Sensors integrated into structure

Further detail was needed in order for realisation of an adaptable structure to come to fruition, the prototypes and experiments of Philip Beesley and his work with projects such as Hylozoic ground, an interactive structure that can respond to human movement but lacks its own emotional qualities, it therefore explores adaptation to external influences so structures can respond to their context and grow decomposable matter. In particular the work by David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang Living city from AD, Territory, Architecture beyond the environment, 2010. This project explored a physical structure that adapts in real time to human interaction and other set pa rameters that can ultimately develop into a network as all of these structures will be digitally connected and inform one another to obtain maximal gains. The adaptable horizontal parts of the structure has sensors integrated into it that responds to the direction of human movements in order to adapt to meet the requirements of the user.


Adaptable structure 0.4

The below diagrams represent the densification of structure in order to form the touch screen that is integral and allows for an interactive learning environment, resulting in a digital integration of the physical users and digital subject matter being explored. This densification of the structure that occurs again around the users requirements results in an internal arrangement that is constantly in flux and therefore has no set orientation. This is done so it matches the skeletal structure so the user can obtain as much natural light and any views of the surrounding context that they desire which previously have been proven to have a significant impact on the learning environment.




‘Living City by David Benjamin & Soo-in Yang

“Our work begins with the premise of a dynamic world. Political and cultural conditions change: what if walls and windows morphed in response"? The work by David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang looks at an urban environment that can physically morph to accommodate to the user. The installation above (living city) is designed for physical structure to be adaptable based on users input.” Hylozic Ground by Philip Beesley




Initial prototype that explored density in structure that allowed for manual linear movement. This experiment was successful and proved that manually dragging out the structure was achievable and could support its own weight when fully opened with little vertical deformation. The main problem that was highlighted was the friction produced by the slots, this needs to be resolved as it is too great for a small motor to move the structure.




Prototype 0.2 explores the digital bridging between human interaction and the digital process in order to respond to the human input so the structure alters its state/form with no manual human force implied on it. This prototype employs the use of a servo motor and a potentiometer to manually control the structure, a thermo sensor is also incorporated into the system which opens the structure in increments according to the increase in temperature. This is done to cool the structure automatically and maintain a constant temperature throughout daily/seasonal changes.

For video of prototype 0.2 please use cd





#include <Servo.h> int int int int

servoPin = 2; // minPulse = 500; // maxPulse = 2500; // pulse = 0; //

Control pin for servo motor Minimum servo position Maximum servo position Amount to pulse the servo

long lastPulse = 0; // the time in milliseconds of the last pulse int refreshTime = 20; // the time needed in between pulses int analogValue = 0; // the value returned from the analog sensor int analogPin = 0; // the analog pin that the potentiometer's on void setup() { pinMode(servoPin, OUTPUT); // Set servo pin as an output pin pulse = minPulse; // Set the motor position value to the minimum Serial.begin(9600); } void loop() { analogValue = analogRead(analogPin); // read the analog input pulse = (analogValue * 19) / 10 + minPulse; // convert the analog value // to a range between minPulse // and maxPulse. // pulse the servo again if rhe refresh time (20 ms) have passed: if (millis() - lastPulse >= refreshTime) { digitalWrite(servoPin, HIGH); // Turn the motor on delayMicroseconds(pulse); // Length of the pulse sets the motor position digitalWrite(servoPin, LOW); // Turn the motor off lastPulse = millis(); // save the time of the last pulse } }


Floor plate plan

Floor plate plan -scale na The floor plates are stacked vertically floor density. Surrounding the floor plates are the individual pods where the new learning environment is housed. The floor plates that connect these pods act as a meeting place and also have all of the vertical circulation punctuated through it, the structure also punctuates these plates also houses all of the buildings services.


Pod Plan 1:40 Floor plate plan

The ideal number of students per pod is four/five within each pod. The pods meet the minimum area per person a single person needs. Static structural columns - These columns cannot be manipulated by the user, there purpose is act as an origin point for the adaptable structure.



Permeable skin - The skins form is dependent on the adaptable skeleton, as the skeletons form alters so does the skins accordingly. Stacked adaptable structure - The structure originates and dissipates to and from the static structural columns. Entrance - The entrance is created the same way as the views are obtained via the structure sensing specific movements of the user to enter and the moves with the structure. The entrance is hidden to create a sense of isolation. Touch Screen - Position created to meet the userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s requirements.


Section aa 1:20







1:20 detail of skin A gel between the two layers of the skin turns opaque when an electric current is induced on it, as the structure opens the current dissipates and the skin turn clear. This controls solar gains and therefore temperature.

Adaptable skeleton

User operated skeleton

Adaptable touch screen




Underside floor plate section 1:20 a

The pods underside adopts the felt vacuum scheme proposed by Robin Evans architects (1969), the felt vacuum wall purifies the polluted air of the city, it attracts floating dust particles and outputs reusable felt. The underside of the floor plates act as a buffer zone to clean the polluted air due to manufacturing and use of the pods.

Underside floor plate plan 1:50 a

Underside floor plate section 1:20 b

The form of the underside can alter in order to maximise its cleaning ability (by increaseing its curface area to the areas where most air flow is occuring) The air flow can be altered by the adaptable skin of the pods, the pods act as a network inorder to alter the overall form of each pod in the system to maximise the cleaning of the pollouted air.

Underside floor plate plan 1:50 b







Internal views; As the pods skeleton is adaptable and therefore the skeletons configuration is based on a specific users parameters the pods can adapt to any form to accommodate for any required view as the skins form is dictated by the adaptable skeleton.

Floor plate views; Perforated floor plates allow for the social learning network to be strengthened as visible links are available over many floors.






r Summer sun Winter sun

Internal sun; As the pods skeleton is adaptable and therefore the skin based on a specific users parameters the pods can adapt to accommodate for any required natural lighting conditions.

Internal views; As the pods skeleton is adaptable and therefore the skeletons configuration is based on a specific users parameters the pods can adapt to any form to accommodate for any required view as the skins form is dictated by the adaptable skeleton.



The pods underside adopts the felt vacuum scheme proposed by Robin Evans architects (1969), the felt vacuum wall purifies the polluted air of the city, it attracts floating dust particles and outputs reusable felt.



The pods act as a network therefore the overall forms of the pods can alter with respect to one another in order to optimize air flow across the underside of the floor plates to get maximal cleaning. The pods act as a system to clean the air that is polluted as a result of the construction process and the overall use of the pods. Above left the outer skin alters and the floor plate buffer zone increases its direct surface area on the outside to clean the air.



Above right the skeleton adapts in order to get more fresh air directly into the pod that is in use, this air current naturally ventilates and cools the pod but also draws the polluted air to the buffer zone of the above floor plate, again the direct surface area at the centre of the floor increase in order to clean as much polluted air in one go.

Underneath of the pods floor plates act as a buffer for cleaning polluted air, the felt is adaptable in order to maximise its cleaning performance combined with the pods form altering in order to maximise airflow to the buffer zone.


N e t w o r k

Air quality sensor Temperature sensor Motion sensor

The sensors that are incorporated into the individual pods allow for a physically adaptable environment that is determined by the occupiers requirements, an individual can also be incorporated into the network so individual preferences can be catered for, the individual is incorporated into system via microchips embed into the individual that stores information on personal preferences, these preferences are detected and can then be catered for. The pods are also apart of a greater system where an individual pods form is orientated towards the whole system obtaining maximal gains such as air flow and ventilation to be passively cooled or heated and to also clean the polluted air, incorporating this technology can allow for a self organised and operated structure that is impartial but is based on specific parameters.







Bridge section aa 1:100


a a Design based upon the Land Securities Bridge, a design that explores the theme of ‘discretization’ and ‘simplexity’. The cladding acts as the structural system, but the significance is that this structural system looks to minimise materiality as it significantly increased cost with this proposed cladding/skin. An algorithm was developed that operates on a stress distribution diagram. “The emergent irregularity of the mesh is a reaction to the algorithms attempt to simplify and equalize the stress diagram”.

Land Securities Bridge Information taken from Form control to design p 136-137 1- Output The resultant form shows a more organic anddynamic distribution of hexagonal patterns, that is more true to the architects’ intention with simpler stress distribution and same number of nodes for fabrication.



2 - Tiling of the parametric space of the surface



3 - Pattern densification using stress distribution

3 units





Bridge structural cladding system

Internal bridge views








Visualisation 0.3


Digital Physicality  

Evolo finalist competition entry Cocoon, design collaboration with Ben Danks, Mark Ferguson and Aaron Jones. Cocoon is an optimised educatio...